O'Neill hopeful over N Ireland duo

13 October 2013 12:31

Chris Brunt and Martin Paterson sat out training ahead of Northern Ireland's final World Cup qualifier against Israel, but both men are expected to be fit for Tuesday's match.

Manager Michael O'Neill is already without Jonny Evans, who received a late red card in the 2-0 defeat in Azerbaijan on Friday night, as well as Gareth McAuley and Oliver Norwood, who each picked up their second yellow cards of the campaign.

Any further withdrawals would leave the squad badly stretched as they look to avoid a fourth straight defeat in Tel Aviv.

West Brom midfielder Brunt and Huddersfield striker Paterson were two of the side's brighter performers in Baku and, despite carrying minor knocks from the match, O'Neill is hopeful they will be fit.

"Brunty and Martin won't be training today but it is just precautionary and we expect both to be fine for the game," he said.

"The lads who played can do very little work two days after a game anyway - it's more of a recovery session for them but the lads who didn't play can do a little more.

"The majority of work for the match will be done the day before the game."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0